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post #71 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 12:57 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

I think it's funny how every forum has their resident conservative/fascist idiot who sits there and regurgitates the party line. [:D][:D]

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post #72 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 06:04 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

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CowtownBallin - 4/3/2005 3:57 AM

I think it's funny how every forum has their resident conservative/fascist idiot who sits there and regurgitates the party line. [:D][:D]
Look in a mirror, dolt.
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

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Botnst - 4/2/2005 8:05 PM

This may be a distraction, but I think that I am in some sort of agreement with something both Joe and Jim have observed, though the causality thing will stand between us and complete agreement.

I agree that our military is not optimal for fighting a war on terrorism. Our military reflects the mindset of the electorate that pays for it: We define enemies by geography. This worked fine until just after WWII. The commie totalitarians and the western democracies both realized that we were at a military stalemate. MAD brought peace. An insanely dangerous peace, IMO. So we all began developing alternative means of forceful persuasion and encouraging our various client states (AKA "pawns") to use them against each other while we superpowers concentrated on building systems capable of annhilating life on Earth.

After forty years of extremely clever innovations, we (western democracies) built a military with power unimagined back when WWIII (the 'Cold War") began. The commie totalitarians fell from power or changed direction resulting in western democracies having the only cohesive world-class military. That is, a military that can project overwhelming power anywhere at any time. The power tools of the former totalitarians are still laying around, but that's a subject for another time.

These tools are designed to intimidate, wound, or kill states. We have demonstrated their near invincibility to the world and the world noticed. There is no challenge to our ability to engage our military in conventional warfare.

But our military is nearly powerless against stateless threats. We projected our matchless military against two states and quickly destroyed both of them as political entities. But we have not defeated their ability to project power so in that sense, we have not defeated them.

I do not believe that MORE military is the answer. In frsutration, we think nuking cities will bring them defeat. That is a dangerous, illusory and false hope. It will not defeat a man with a gun and a will and determination to use it.

So what can a poor boy do?

After military defeat of the state, you gotta fight the 'hearts and minds' war or you must embark on a war of annhilation.

"Hearts and minds" are won by offering people a path with hope and self-determination. This does not mean write everybody a check who is mad at us. It means helping the people to build a society predicated on the worth of every individual. Help them to open their minds to new ways of thinking and working. Open their eyes to see a future for their children that is better for them than the future offered by the stateless enemies--who offers TNT jacket and seventy virgins in an eternal afterlife.
Aw crap. That was well said. No arguments today from me.
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post #74 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 03:38 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Posted by JimSmith: While I agree we are no longer that superior economic, moral and military entity we once were, I am not sure we should aspire to learning to live with terror for any length of time. I would much prefer a world being run by America, even if we knock some cones over as we steer the world through its course. So, I think we should aspire to reestablishing that superiority with an overhaul of our economic priorities, our moral stance on human rights, and our military. That will take a long time. In the mean time we need to be secure. So I suggest we keep those nukes functional, reliable, and secure. Jim

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Well, Jim, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. You say that we should "overhaul our economic priorities, our moral stance on human rights, and our military." Does this come before, or after, we visit a nuclear attack on several million people? Somehow, this strategy does not strike me as particularly moral. This country that you wish would use its nuclear arsenal in response to an attack that killed 3,000 of its citizens is going to be the moral beacon to the world? That, my friend, would be a hard sell to the rest of the world.

You prefer a world run by America; I think the notion of running the world is the one that gets our country into trouble, time and time again.

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post #75 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 03:42 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Posted by Botnst: "Hearts and minds" are won by offering people a path with hope and self-determination. This does not mean write everybody a check who is mad at us. It means helping the people to build a society predicated on the worth of every individual. Help them to open their minds to new ways of thinking and working. Open their eyes to see a future for their children that is better for them than the future offered by the stateless enemies--who offers TNT jacket and seventy virgins in an eternal afterlife.
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Well-stated. To the degree that we should engage ourselves in the affairs of other peoples, this would be the correct approach, from my point of view.

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post #76 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-09-2005, 05:06 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

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Joe Bauers - 4/3/2005 5:38 PM

Posted by JimSmith: While I agree we are no longer that superior economic, moral and military entity we once were, I am not sure we should aspire to learning to live with terror for any length of time. I would much prefer a world being run by America, even if we knock some cones over as we steer the world through its course. So, I think we should aspire to reestablishing that superiority with an overhaul of our economic priorities, our moral stance on human rights, and our military. That will take a long time. In the mean time we need to be secure. So I suggest we keep those nukes functional, reliable, and secure. Jim

-----------------------------------------------------

Well, Jim, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. You say that we should "overhaul our economic priorities, our moral stance on human rights, and our military." Does this come before, or after, we visit a nuclear attack on several million people? Somehow, this strategy does not strike me as particularly moral. This country that you wish would use its nuclear arsenal in response to an attack that killed 3,000 of its citizens is going to be the moral beacon to the world? That, my friend, would be a hard sell to the rest of the world.

You prefer a world run by America; I think the notion of running the world is the one that gets our country into trouble, time and time again.

Joe B.
Joe,

How many Americans would you say should die in a single attack that was all but sanctioned by every significant, recognized, official government particular area of the world before we use a nuke? Never? No limit? How about more attacks?

If you reach a threshold and believe a nuke is warranted at any point, I think you will find waiting to use it a difficult argument to maintain.

I agree we need to butt out of other nation's business, until letting them carry on with their business threatens America's interests. When I say I prefer a world being run by America, I am not suggesting the America of late, necessarily, where we use our military weight as our only control knob. On the whole, America's tenure at the helm has been one of prosperity for the greatest number of people the world has seen. I am unable to name another nation I would nominate to take over that I would believe could carry on similarly. Jim
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post #77 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-10-2005, 06:45 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Posted by JimSmith: Joe,

How many Americans would you say should die in a single attack that was all but sanctioned by every significant, recognized, official government particular area of the world before we use a nuke? Never? No limit? How about more attacks?

-----------------------------------------------------

Jim,
I am having trouble deciphering your first sentence, but I think I get the gist. Your argument is that the United States, portraying itself as the moral leader of the world, should have responded to 9/11 with a nuclear attack. You say this knowing full well that, A) 19 hooligans with box cutters carried out an attack that killed 3,000 Americans; and B) that the current government of the United States was grossly ill-prepared for that attack, since they were most interested in a missile defense shield against imaginary enemies; and C) that the group responsible for the attack has individuals spread all over the globe who believe fully in their cause.

It strikes me that a nuclear attack under those circumstances is way, way out of line. Your argument seems to be: Because we have them (nukes), ergo, we must use them--or, heaven forbid, no one will think that we might use them.

Both strategically, and morally, I think the use of nuclear weapons under those circumstances would have been disastrous. We currently have the most militaristic administration in recent memory in office, and even they did not push the nuclear button. So ask yourself: How does it feel to be to the right of Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, et al?

I will repeat what I said earlier: Killing large numbers of Al Quaeda with nuclear weapons will not kill the idea behind Al Quaeda. It will, however, cast the United States in the role of nuclear bully in the eyes of the world--and, I would argue, we still need to live in that world.

Joe B.
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post #78 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-10-2005, 08:22 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

It would be easy to swing to your position on this, given you have painted me as right of Wolfowitz and the like and I don't see myself there. But getting comfortable with a position that seems to be founded on trying to change the minds of large groups of people who actively hate us by wielding only a weapon from Christian lore, turning the other cheek, is not going to be possible. Wolfowitz, and the rest of the Bushies didn't use a nuke because they didn't have a clue what they were up against, and by the looks of things today (Pentagon budget priorities for example) they still don't.

I do not think 19 box cutter wielding loonies successfully killing in excess of 3,000 Americans in a single day has anything to do with using a nuke in response, or not. The choice to use a nuke is based on understanding the threat and how best to neutralize it. The 19 box cutter wielding loonies represented a siginificantly larger organization who was headquartered in a single location, and, in the area of the world they came from, they were heavily supported by a great number of local governments. In some cases the support of Al Qaeda or another of the extremist Islamic anti-Israel groups is quite open. In others it is not so open, but without tacit approval of the local governments, it would not be possible at the levels the support is provided. Iraq did not happen to be one of these supporting nations, but Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan are. You may dismiss the threat as the virtually random acts of some bumbling box cutter wielding nuts, or by some other logic that concludes we have plenty of Americans to sacrifice at a few thousand at a time. I do not. However, the moment to strike back with a nuke has passed and will likely not arise to the same likelihood of success again. Instead we are now part of a conflict that has historically gone on for thousands of years. Are you ready for that? I don't think we are, and with our present tools we will go broke long before the clock runs out.

It would have been nice if we had the smarts to pick these 19 box cutter wielding loonies up before the attack. Or maybe not. Given the Patriot Act, and the continuing inability of our government to keep us safe, to combat such threats at home will likely mean a much greater assault on what being an American used to mean.

I know I am making my point poorly and don't think I can convince anyone of the validity of using nukes on 9-12. It really isn't worth much effort since the moment passed and we did not do it. I find the arguments not to use nukes seem to project from a belief that killing a hundred thousand people slowly every decade, for centuries or longer, is more acceptable than getting all the killing done in a nanosecond. I am very overtly in favor of killing no one at all. But unless the timing question results in more Americans dying in the short version, I am not at all in favor or long, drawn out conflicts that last a few hundred generations. Given our present military incompetence I see a long lasting event killing many more Americans than a shorter one.

Yes, I think America is losing its leadership role. I think our military is next to useless in anything but a nuclear event with the likes of the now defunct USSR. Our economic policy is hardly a model for others to follow. We undermine our basic manufacturing capabilities by "outsourcing" manufacturing jobs to other countries, run our balance of trade so far out of balance we now import more than we export every month than we did in an entire year a decade ago, spend hundreds of billions of dollars our government doesn't have every year, and continue to have a national energy policy linked to military occupation of OPEC nations. All this while we persecute gays, attempt to discredit basic scientific theories in favor of creationism, and divert the national agenda to fret over private, personal matters concerning the right to die, all in the name of frenzied Christianity in a nation founded on separation of Church and State.

It used to be a clear policy that we would nuke the Ruskies if they attacked us, assuring everyone would be dead. This was something everyone could understand and deal with. Has our policy changed? Is it now ok if we get run down by attacks with relatively small casualty numbers (3,000 is not a number of lives we could not spare, I suppose, at regular, say seasonal intervals?) and are overrun by a less technically sophisticated enemy if it means we successfully avoid nuking them? I think I liked the old mutual destruction concept. Jim



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post #79 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 04:02 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

[QUOTE]JimSmith - 4/10/2005 10:22 PM

It would be easy to swing to your position on this, given you have painted me as right of Wolfowitz and the like and I don't see myself there. But getting comfortable with a position that seems to be founded on trying to change the minds of large groups of people who actively hate us by wielding only a weapon from Christian lore, turning the other cheek, is not going to be possible.
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--Who said anything about turning the other cheek? I argued in favor of intense international police work, and intense intelligence.

-----------------------------------------------------

Wolfowitz, and the rest of the Bushies didn't use a nuke because they didn't have a clue what they were up against, and by the looks of things today (Pentagon budget priorities for example) they still don't.

----What is your impression of "what we are up against?" A greater threat posed by international, tyranical communism (armed with nuclear weapons) during the Cold War? You may recall that a direct threat 90 miles from our shores with the installation of equipment capable of launching a nuclear attack against us did NOT result in our use of nuclear weapons.

--------------------------------------------------

I do not think 19 box cutter wielding loonies successfully killing in excess of 3,000 Americans in a single day has anything to do with using a nuke in response, or not. The choice to use a nuke is based on understanding the threat and how best to neutralize it. The 19 box cutter wielding loonies represented a siginificantly larger organization who was headquartered in a single location, and, in the area of the world they came from, they were heavily supported by a great number of local governments. In some cases the support of Al Qaeda or another of the extremist Islamic anti-Israel groups is quite open. In others it is not so open, but without tacit approval of the local governments, it would not be possible at the levels the support is provided. Iraq did not happen to be one of these supporting nations, but Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan are. You may dismiss the threat as the virtually random acts of some bumbling box cutter wielding nuts, or by some other logic that concludes we have plenty of Americans to sacrifice at a few thousand at a time.

--No, I do not think we have plenty of Americans to sacrifice, but I also recognize the sheer luck involved in the 9/11 attacks, and the sheer incompetence in combating it.

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However, the moment to strike back with a nuke has passed and will likely not arise to the same likelihood of success again. Instead we are now part of a conflict that has historically gone on for thousands of years. Are you ready for that? I don't think we are, and with our present tools we will go broke long before the clock runs out.

---And that conflict is? The haves vs. the have nots? The rich vs. the poor? The Muslims vs. the rest of us? And of what clock are you speaking?

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It would have been nice if we had the smarts to pick these 19 box cutter wielding loonies up before the attack.

----Actually, we did have the smarts. We knew the names and faces of two of them; we just did not take the threat seriously. Read Richard Clarke's book. What we lacked was not smarts; it was leadership.

----------------------------------------------------


I know I am making my point poorly and don't think I can convince anyone of the validity of using nukes on 9-12. It really isn't worth much effort since the moment passed and we did not do it. I find the arguments not to use nukes seem to project from a belief that killing a hundred thousand people slowly every decade, for centuries or longer, is more acceptable than getting all the killing done in a nanosecond.

---By what calculation do you arrive at the conclusion that we are in for killing a "hundred thousand people slowly every decade?" If we stay out of places like Vietnam and Iraq, how would such carnage become the norm? Explain.

--------------------------------------------------
I am very overtly in favor of killing no one at all. But unless the timing question results in more Americans dying in the short version, I am not at all in favor or long, drawn out conflicts that last a few hundred generations.

----A few hundred generations? Really? How did you arrive at that calculation?

-------------------------------------------------

Yes, I think America is losing its leadership role. I think our military is next to useless in anything but a nuclear event with the likes of the now defunct USSR. Our economic policy is hardly a model for others to follow. We undermine our basic manufacturing capabilities by "outsourcing" manufacturing jobs to other countries, run our balance of trade so far out of balance we now import more than we export every month than we did in an entire year a decade ago, spend hundreds of billions of dollars our government doesn't have every year, and continue to have a national energy policy linked to military occupation of OPEC nations. All this while we persecute gays, attempt to discredit basic scientific theories in favor of creationism, and divert the national agenda to fret over private, personal matters concerning the right to die, all in the name of frenzied Christianity in a nation founded on separation of Church and State.

----Yep, agree with all of this.

--------------------------------------------------

It used to be a clear policy that we would nuke the Ruskies if they attacked us, assuring everyone would be dead. This was something everyone could understand and deal with. Has our policy changed? Is it now ok if we get run down by attacks with relatively small casualty numbers (3,000 is not a number of lives we could not spare, I suppose, at regular, say seasonal intervals?) and are overrun by a less technically sophisticated enemy if it means we successfully avoid nuking them? I think I liked the old mutual destruction concept.

-----Mutually assured annihilation made sense when both parties had that capability. Keep nuclear and other WMD out of the hands of terrorists, and that will not be the case.

Our biggest disagreement comes with your conclusion that a well-placed nuclear attack on 9/12/01 would have ended our problem with terrorism. I disagree, obviously. I think it would have exacerbated that problem in ways we cannot even imagine. I also think it would have disqualified the U.S. from a position of moral leadership in the world, if such a position was ever ours to lose in the first place.

Joe B.


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post #80 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 12:42 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
--Who said anything about turning the other cheek? I argued in favor of intense international police work, and intense intelligence.
Well, I change my position then. I argue in favor of plenty of everything for everyone, no more hunger, disease, and living happily ever after, for all. Since it seems we can argue for wildly and unrealistically optimistic outcomes without explaining how they may come to pass, I guess that is as good as it needs to be. Unless the you feel vaguely obligated to figure out how what got us into this mess can be cured, specifically.

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Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
----What is your impression of "what we are up against?" A greater threat posed by international, tyranical communism (armed with nuclear weapons) during the Cold War? You may recall that a direct threat 90 miles from our shores with the installation of equipment capable of launching a nuclear attack against us did NOT result in our use of nuclear weapons.
Yes, I think what we are up against now is quite different and much more of a threat. When the Commies were the bad guys, they never attacked us and killed 3,000 of us. The most American casualties in the war against commies happened in Vietnam, which were really more self inflicted since, when we just decided to leave the killing of Americans (and Vietnamese by Americans) ended abruptly and there were no negative consequences to America. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended when we faced the enemy, prepared to launch into a nuclear confrontation that would have assured we all died, and the enemy changed his mind. That kind of enemy is not what we are facing today. Today's enemy is much more dangerous because they have studied us to the extent they are amoung us and we cannot tell who they are. They know us intimately, even better than we do, and they have demonstrated they can manipulate us as well as our own politicians. They can also manipulate the populations of the rest of the globe, something our politicians cannot hope to do.

The most significant aspect of the threat we face from terrorism is we don't understand it. The Russians were much more like us and found the same likely outcomes of nuclear or other war between us equally unacceptable. Our new enemy rejects everything about us. They seem to welcome the opportunity to die trying to kill one or more of us. You may think this is only a minority. I think, if it were a minority of the populations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc., the threat would already be over. It isn't, for a reason.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
--No, I do not think we have plenty of Americans to sacrifice, but I also recognize the sheer luck involved in the 9/11 attacks, and the sheer incompetence in combating it.
I think we were the lucky ones. There were other planes to be hijacked that day that weren't. We have not had another attack since. We are still unbelievably vulnerable to all kinds of attacks and in my mind we are lucky to have not been attacked yet. Continuing to underestimate the capability of others to exploit our weaknesses is another example of my previous belief we collectively do not understand the threat. We can't even agree on why they hate us. Underestimating their capability and determination is bad for us and good for them. You might call that luck on their part. I think it is negligence on our part that they are keenly aware of and able to use to their favor. I think attributing a fault of ours to good luck for them distorts the reality of a flaw we have, making it easier to continue to do nothing about it. Frank Zappa characterized this weakness of ours with the phrase "It can't happen here" in an old song.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
---And that conflict is? The haves vs. the have nots? The rich vs. the poor? The Muslims vs. the rest of us? And of what clock are you speaking?
That conflict is the same conflict that has afflicted the area of the globe for thousands of years. It is the same conflict that pits the Arabs against the Jews in Israel. We have again inserted ourselves in a conflict that is none of our business. The clock I am speaking of is the "clock" that ticks away with every month of several billion dollars and dozen or so American lives spent in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Lives and treasure we spill with no chance of any return on the investment.

The ill will we earn with that effort, generally across the globe, and slow but persistent decay of our economic system that will combine, long before a conclusion to the conflict we have elected to enter ends, to bring about our economic fall from grace, or even collapse. The longer we head down this path the closer we get to bringing our way of life to a close. I don't think the "clock" has more than a few decades of ticking left.

We are not the economic dynamo we were at the end of WWII. We don't have the strong manufacturing base we once had. We import nearly all finished manufactured goods, and export jobs. Yet we spend like there is no limit to how many billions of dollars we can spend using our military to represent our interests around the world.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
----Actually, we did have the smarts. We knew the names and faces of two of them; we just did not take the threat seriously. Read Richard Clarke's book. What we lacked was not smarts; it was leadership.
I agree we are suffering a severe drought in the area of leadership. But it is not just leadership at the White House. The Congress is essentially corrupt, focussed on being reelected first and foremost, to the point of overtly and openly placing personal and Party priorities over those of America. The leadership problems are also rampant in the Pentagon and the military, and the intelligence services and other big dollar government agencies. Examine the way promotions and annual conduct reviews are carried out if you have any real doubts. Humans are not all that different than dogs. Pavlov documented how dogs learn behaviour. We operate the same way. When poor leadership, poor performance and inapropriate priorities are rewarded, they become a learned behaviour.

We can argue whether we had the smarts or not. We had no idea what the 19 box cutter wielding shitbirds were up to and, the way I see it we stumbled onto facts that under our current means of pattern recognition, we had no chance of interpreting correctly. Some of that can be attributed to poor leadership. But some of it has to be acknowledged to be due to the fact that we prefer to live with our freedoms intact. Giving the government greater power to develop better skills to spy on all of us in the name of security is not something all of us are willing to support. An America without risk from terror is not America any longer.
Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
---By what calculation do you arrive at the conclusion that we are in for killing a "hundred thousand people slowly every decade?" If we stay out of places like Vietnam and Iraq, how would such carnage become the norm? Explain.
First, I think we are in the Middle East for a long time to come. I think that is far likelier than a quick withdrawal.

I also think the lack of leadership you agree we are suffering from is not going to be cured in the short term. Without another sequence of greater disasters I see Americans continuing to elect poor leaders because they have scheisters like Karl Rove studying how to manipulate them into getting together to hate a common enemy, because that is easier than finding a cause to unite people behind that is constructive. It is the most basic similarity between the Nazis and the present Administration. Hating gays was a pretty effective bond last November. It got a very poor leader reelected.

With continued poor leadership we can look forward to more Vietnam like engagements in the Middle East and other places where there are resources we might covet. I don't see the cure for poor leadership on the horizon, and consequently I see the present mire we are in to be much more of a problem than Vietnam. The Vietnamese that followed us back to America wanted to become Americans for various reasons, none of them being to continue killing Americans. I don't see that being the case in our present situation. If we left we would still be a target. My opinion - I don't see any evidence that contradicts it though.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
----A few hundred generations? Really? How did you arrive at that calculation?
With a human "generation" being about 10 to 15 years, a few hundred generations translates to a few thousand years. The Middle East has been in conflict with outsiders and each other for that long already.
Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/12/2005 6:02 PM
-----Mutually assured annihilation made sense when both parties had that capability. Keep nuclear and other WMD out of the hands of terrorists, and that will not be the case.

Our biggest disagreement comes with your conclusion that a well-placed nuclear attack on 9/12/01 would have ended our problem with terrorism. I disagree, obviously. I think it would have exacerbated that problem in ways we cannot even imagine. I also think it would have disqualified the U.S. from a position of moral leadership in the world, if such a position was ever ours to lose in the first place.

Joe B.
I think we also have a basic difference in our outlook on the relationships between desired outcomes, possible outcomes and likely outcomes. If a coordinated international action plan could be made to be effective, I would be all for it. I think that has about the likelihood of being successful as winning two big $200,000,000 Powerball lottery tickets with the first two tickets you buy for the lottery. There is too much local influence, corruption and layers of hidden agendas to sustain a meaningful program for long.

I think our economic system is on its last legs. Our unrestricted appetite for consumer garbage is bleeding us of jobs, know how, the ability to fund manufacturing innovations to retain jobs, the ability have private corporations fund research needed to sustain our historical leadership in technical innovation, which is needed deliver greater energy efficiency in all steps of product manufacture and consumption for example, and limit the continued growth of the national debt. While this is a time for great leadership to step up, it is also a time when people have been shown to be most susceptible to being manipulated by the likes of Karl Rove and George Bush and Herr Hitler.

I can understand your distaste for a 9-12 nuclear response. I cannot understand why you think the alternates you proposed will ever come to pass, given the fact that we are still dorking around in Afghanistan and somehow embarked on this expedition to Iraq, and the fathead that directed the show got reelected by holding up gays as the enemy. Jim

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